Iron Mountain dog’s death on hold


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – A dog that was scheduled to be euthanized today for violating Iron Mountain’s vicious dog ordinance has been given a temporary stay of execution by Dickinson County Circuit Court Judge Mary B. Barglind.

Roxy, a two-year-old pit bull, boxer, shepherd mix, had been ordered to be put down for biting a woman on July 12. Iron Mountain’s ordinance requires that any vicious dog that, while unprovoked, attacks a human or domestic animal be destroyed.

Over the past few weeks, many people in the community have rallied to save Roxy. They argued that Roxy’s behavior on July 12 was situational, and that she has not shown any aggression since then.

One of Roxy’s supporters, Emily Ritsema of Breitung Township, worked with attorney Deborah Cummings-Curran of Escanaba to file an appeal of Dickinson County District Court Judge Christopher Ninomiya’s original court order to destroy Roxy with the Dickinson County Circuit Court.

The appeal application provided by Ritsema alleges that Roxy’s owner, Vicki Tavonatti, did not fully understand the original district court proceedings, that Roxy should have been assessed by an animal evaluator, and that a sanctuary out of the area has offered to take Roxy.

In response to this appeal application, Judge Barglind signed an order on Friday afternoon prohibiting the city of Iron Mountain from destroying Roxy until further order of the court.

A subsequent court hearing has not yet been scheduled.

“It’ll be a lengthy process, but we’re really excited to be able to save Roxy’s life,” said Ritsema. “I truly believe she’s an innocent victim in this.”

Diane Luczak, manager of the Almost Home Animal Shelter in Quinnesec, confirmed that Roxy will not be put down today.

Roxy has been housed at the shelter since the July 12 incident and will remain there until the court has made a decision about her fate, said Luczak.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is